Today's competitors are D.H. Lawrence and Arna Bontemps. This is an interesting match-up because while I was unfamiliar with Arna Bontemps before this challenge, I was never much of a fan of D.H. Lawrence either. Both these gents, as poets, have surprised me considerably over the past month, and so I was interested to see what kind of poetry each would inspire.
So, without further ado, let's get started!
D.H. Lawrence vs Arna Bontemps
After D.H. Lawrence's "Almond Blossom"
This is the age
of looking beyond your own navel, love.
Beyond the core,
life peels and fruits--
seeding space with blossoming experience,
those pearls of knowing, and knowing
that pearls against the rusted roots of sycamore.
The peach tree knowing,
the clementine and nectarine knowing of earth.
The citron tree knowing,
that fingers the sky in yellowed
and greened touch, the knowing of the Buddha--
There is wisdom that stems
beyond the sphere of your navel, love.
Look and see the trees that fight against the world,
those reaching palms exiled from cool air and mercy
with lips that never touch to kiss those frail rivers--
non-native trees in non-native spaces, and see
how they blossom, resilient, rebellious
spirits of blossoming,
the dream of flower and fruit within each sheathing pericarp.
Each shell a soul, each seed a tongue.
Blooming into the knowledge of your mouth, love,
the knowing of your fingering tongue,
wrapped in ecstasy against each membrane, each thread
you dare to suck in the dry days and long nights when the moon, too,
is a seed for you to suckle.
I have known the world beyond your navel, love--
and let me know you more, the seed of you,
the pith and membrane. How you blossom, succulent,
upon my tongue. Let me know the tangor age
After Arna Bontemps' "Reconnaissance"
We rode on the backs of waves,
And once, too, we lapped
up the spheres of the sky
like milk-- but no more, no,
Only in dreams do we touch the four winds,
wade the embankments of the shore
where storms roll in and touch us
at our feet, bend to the calamity
blooming in the change within us.
Only there do the cacao beans become blossoms.
Remember the merging of the sea with your bones,
the sigh of revelation, the silent shifts
weaving your becoming--
How long will you wait to step back
into your promise?
Now--now I call you forth once more,
summon you to the shoreline.
There will I heave you, up upon my back,
press you once more into the sky,
into cloud banks where fortunes rise and fall.
Your Turn: This round has been all about responding to the inspirational "call" within the works of other poets. I encourage you to play with that call in the works of the writers you admire. Which writers have the voice that you cannot help but follow into the trench of written words? What does it take you fire you up and get your mind reeling with new ideas? As always, feel free to share your thoughts, writing, or links in the comments below!
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Check out the original poems that inspired the poems above